Friday, September 25, 2015

The WMT - Is ''public occultism'' dying? A Response to Mr Farrell

Alright I'll bite, Mr Farrell.  Personally I enjoy a bit of an argument during retrograde.

Mr Farrell's general points are only in the headings of this post if you want to read them in detail you need to go to:

http://www.nickfarrell.it/ten-reasons-why-public-occultism-is-dying/

I have been posting about this topic for quite a while now in my ''The WMT - What Went Wrong?'' series.  Unlike Mr Farrell who is always more than a little tempted to blame the youth I plant the blame squarely on the leaders, elders and teachers.
 
1. The contamination of occultism by dumbed down “New Age” systems, fantasy and fraud. 

Absolutely agree with you here Mr Farrell but of course I would add the Golden Dawn and its spin-offs to your list as they are the ones responsible for most of the problems we are now dealing with. You are right in the early part of your post when you say the GD has been a failure.  It has.

2. Contamination by Intellect.

Absolutely agree.  There is a certain tendency these days to attempt to dress up your occultism in the language of the Ivory Tower as if this somehow makes it more legitimate.  Magicians as academics is one of the reasons I cite for the increasing dissolution of the WMT.  You're esoteric scientists dammit, come down from the Ivory Towers, and get back in the lab.  I read so many very general or abstract posts about magic these days and precious few discussions of concrete experiments or experiences.  This is why I quite enjoy Magick from Scratch  - here is someone bashing out concepts with Gods in the astral, in dreams and in trance and then recording them.  They are demonstrating, by way of example, what other people should be doing in the magic blogosphere.  There needs to be a massive shift towards practical experimentation and reporting and an openness towards admitting failure in these endeavours.  Most so called magickal blog content is identity politics, thinly veiled promotions for books/workshops or conspiracy gnosticism with magick lightly drizzled over it like raspberry sauce.   

3. Contamination by Psychology. 

I think this is less of a problem than Farrell (prob. becuase I am younger than him and I think this problem affected earlier generations more than mine) but I agree its a problem.  I think the pressure from the Grimoire Crowd and the Pick n Mix Sorcery Bunch over the last 10 years or so has done a lot to reverse this by getting people to focus on external magickal results (for instance Fr. Assan Chassan's insistence on conjuring to physical manifestation, etc) rather than just on dealing with their neuroses and other issues.

4. Contamination by fundamentalism. 

Fundamentalism is stupid but a concern with correcting errors in the tradition by a recourse to earlier source material and fresh archaelogical evidence is absolutely rational.  There should be arguments about the Kabbalah and the way it is used in the WMT.  These arguments need to be had, those conflicts are signs that the tradition is living.

5. Contamination of training systems by “non-occult” leaders. 

I agree with Dionysian Atavism who pointed out in social media that magicians have been using their mysterious arts to make money and get laid for most of recorded history.  The proliferation of lower quality sorcerers and simple con-men in the WMT also doing this, is of course largely the fault of the Golden Dawn, Golden Dawn spinoffs and Aleister Crowley et al who created the books behind their materials in the first place. 

6. The failure of modern students to study or give the work priority.

Don't blame the kids again, bro.  We can go round and round on this all you like Mr Farrell, but it is the teachers of this generation who are failing to pass the tradition on because we are not teaching properly or handling the changes in the Zeitgeist.  If you can't change with the times, you, and your order are dust.  Magick will survive in a different form.

7. Failure to financially support teachers, writers, or orders. 

Look, this kind of whining from occultists annoys me more than anything else.  First of all, you're supposedly magicians right?  If you're not magician enough to magic yourself up some money then maybe you shouldn't be teaching ''sorcery'' in the first place.  This kind of financial pressure will hopefully cut down the amount of wannabe writers/teachers out there who don't want to do anything but write and teach on the occult and return the balance in favour of the groups who have the money from their normal occupation and practise esoteric sciences on their own time.  If not that then to the actual shamans who work tirelessly with and for the community that support them and which they live in.  Nothing wrong with this, in fact this is how it should be and how it has been for most of recorded history.    The 70s circuit, etc were the self absorbed baby boomers of the occult revival who failed to effectively pass on the tradition.  So in this Golden Age you are missing these people laid the foundations for the current problems.  It was a blip in the history of magic not its peak by any means.

My entire work will continue to be published for free on this blog.  Thanks but I don't need your money for my ideas.  The tranmission of the knowledge is reward enough. I just want people to use the tools they now have at their disposal to create a Renaissance and stop holding back because they think they might one day turn it into a few thousand books. Josephine McCarthy's high quality Quareia course is free.  

If you want to charge a fortune for your work bear in mind that people do just steal what they need - people break intellectual copyright laws all the time.  We don't make a big deal about all the movies and music that have been stolenThe internet has changed everything. If you're not good enough to make it as a writer, a teacher or an order in these new times because of a lack of marketing nous or basic business acumen then get a different jobYour customers don't have as much money as they used to.  Most practitioners are poor and therefore the extra cost of supporting jet-setting teachers is not something they are comfortable with.  You want to get money from an average Gen Y you better be good, because they are going to read reviews, check and double check before they spend it. If you are reputable and adaptable enough to survive, excellent, you have been sucessfully selected by the Zeitgeist.  ''Its the economy stupid''.  Don't whine, adapt or die.

8. The collapse of the Order and Teaching system. Orders and teachers used to be the balance.

Orders perpetuated misunderstanding as well as protecting nefarious secrets.  They brought the wrath of the collective tradition down on their heads when they behaved so terribly during all the legal cases over the use of various names, etc ad nauseum.  That we have such low opinions of them these days is their fault or the fault of individuals within their organisations.
  
Independent magicians who occasionally work in small groups on specific projects is the trend and this is actually a return to the natural state of these individuals.  As I understand it this is Mr Stratton'-Kent's position and I am in complete agreement with him.  If the order system is indeed collapsing then good.

9. The Internet has made occultism too accessible.

Mr Farrell here seems to be complaining mainly that the internet has made occultists too accessible as opposed to occultism itself.  If you don't want to recieve messages from idiots then don't give out your contact details to them.  Its not rocket science.   You need to filter the students that's part of the job of the teacher.

10. The quality of occult information has become less and not more.

The quality of occult information is the highest it has ever been.  Humanity now has much greater access to the actual sources that most modern commentaries are based upon than ever before, can read them and make up their own minds.  We don't need the next 101 sorcery guide from Llewellyn.   Sales are down from tens of thousands to hundreds? Good, its done.  Game over.   Just like the music industry. They were charging eighteen pounds for a CD in the 90s - I am glad these industries are dying - they deserve to.  Publishing will only exist for these small beautifully bound works of the grimoire crowd, as it should be, and the way it once was - these books are not for the mass marketing of the occult they are for the veneration and dedicated study of the secret and the few.  

Magick will always protect itself from the worthless who just want it dumbed down and served up on a plate to them ( and they are common to all generations not just ''kids today'').  

Magick will always seek the shadows.  


In conclusion I agree with Mr Farrell that the WMT is going through a very rough patch and might dissolve.  In order to penetrate the mysteries you are going to have to work hard but at least we no longer have to painstakingly copy esoteric treatises by candlelight in secret basements while hiding from the Inquisition - I can now just go to sacred-texts.com. If the price of that is dark fluff blowing in the wind  so-be-it.  Its worth it, more than worth it for what we have now.    These are boom times for the elect.   Make the most of them.  Work harder, stop chatting shit, share results, be selective and ignore the idiots.




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